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Independent Driving Test

Going Solo: the new Independent section of the driving test

  • What is the new independent section of the driving test

In October 2010, the DSA introduced a new section into the practical driving test: ‘independent’ or ‘unaided’ driving. It tests your ability to drive without being given directions and advice from your instructor or examiner – in short, it tests your ability to drive like everyone else on the roads.

The independent driving section lasts approximately 5-10 minutes; and don’t worry, it’s not amazingly complicated. The examiners don’t expect you to know the way to the nearest supermarket, or how to get out to the motorway. They simply give you a set of basic instructions, and then leave you to follow them.

For instance, the examiner might ask you to pull into the kerb and stop. Then he’ll tell you drive to the end of the road, turn left, continue until the first set of traffic lights, then turn right, and follow the road to the end. You’re expected to listen to him, register what he’s told you – and then do it.

Don’t panic if you haven’t got the best memory, though – you are allowed to double check as you drive along; so as you approach the lights, you could ask ‘Did you say turn right or left at the lights?’. That’s fine.

Alternatively, your examiner could ask you to follow signs for a nearby town. Then you simply drive along and make sure you go the right way on the roundabout, take the right turnings, etc, until your examiner tells you to stop.

Neither option is particularly onerous, and you can always ask for a reminder or clarification if you can’t quite remember. This is simply a way of making sure you can drive when you’re on your own, without someone giving you directions all the time. This, if you think about it, is quite a sensible thing to check.

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